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Old 11-25-2009, 12:27 AM   #1
PatientZero
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Default Lacing... who cares?

So after a few homebrewing escapades, my friend and I were just wondering what the importance of lacing was. We searched on Google and found numerous results on how to judge beer as well as how to improve lacing, but didn't find anything on why it's actually important. The closest reason we found was that lacing determines how clean the glass is and how much care was taken while brewing the beer, but this didn't really answer our questions.

We wanted a more scientific reason as to why lacing is important. Does lacing indicate that certain chemical compounds are present in the beer that improve flavor or something like that? Or is it just for aesthetics?

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Old 11-25-2009, 12:42 AM   #2
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It's not important, it's simply more stupidity being promoted by beer rating websites. And you are right that it has more to do with the cleanliness of the glass than the beer itself.

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Old 11-25-2009, 12:47 AM   #3
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It's totally aesthetic. I have noticed that my beers that have a decent amount of head retention also have good lacing. The ones I've made with poor head retention generally don't lace much.

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Old 11-25-2009, 12:51 AM   #4
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It's not purely aesthetic. While lacing is not of utmost importance, it does indicate the presence of foam-friendly proteins, which contribute to head retention and body in a beer. Good head retention can be indicative of a well constructed beer, but it is only one of many factors that can help determine a beer's quality.

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Old 11-25-2009, 12:51 AM   #5
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I think in general, good lacing is an indication that the beer is well made. Nothing more. I have on the other hand had many well made beers that have little to no head retention, and no lacing. Many Barleywines are barely carbonated.

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Old 11-25-2009, 02:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
It's not purely aesthetic. While lacing is not of utmost importance, it does indicate the presence of foam-friendly proteins, which contribute to head retention and body in a beer. Good head retention can be indicative of a well constructed beer, but it is only one of many factors that can help determine a beer's quality.
+1

Quality made beers generally have good lacing. Plus it's pretty to look at.
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:31 AM   #7
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You drink with your eyes, not just your mouth. Sure, taste is probably the most important thing to consider, but a good looking beer completes the whole beer drinking experience. There are few things that get my mouth watering as much as nice thick head atop a cold mug of beer. Plus, as previously stated, appearance is an indication of quality.

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Old 11-25-2009, 01:59 PM   #8
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I have on the other hand had many well made beers that have little to no head retention, and no lacing.
Exactly, you can't say that it's a sign of a well made beer because I have had plenty of lousy beers where the head sticks around all day and other great beers that had no laving to speak of. Saying that lacing alone is an indication of a good beer is a straw man statement. Sure you drink with your eyes but you also have to use your brain to determine what style the beer is and what grains/type of mash/hops/a thousand other things went into this beer that will effect it.
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:42 PM   #9
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Of course lacing, alone, is not the indication of a good beer, and I saw no one writing that. It certainly is among the indicators, though. If I'm handed a beer that is supposed to have a good head but does not, I can bet that there is more wrong with that beer than the head.

Besides, it's pretty. Pretty counts, even with beer.


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Old 11-25-2009, 03:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
It's not purely aesthetic. While lacing is not of utmost importance, it does indicate the presence of foam-friendly proteins, which contribute to head retention and body in a beer. Good head retention can be indicative of a well constructed beer, but it is only one of many factors that can help determine a beer's quality.
I'll agree with almost everything Yuri said here except his claim that it's not purely aesthetic. I'll say it is purely aesthetic and that's OK, even a good thing and the reason we brew beer!

If all you're looking for is an alcohol delivery system, you'll get much more bang for your buck going to the liquor store and getting the cheapest 1.5 liter bottle of vodka. Presumably the reason we brew & drink all these different kinds of beers is mostly about aesthetics! And our sense of pleasure at the taste of the beer, as others have pointed out, comes from taste, smell, and sight. Color, clarity, head retention, lacing are all important to the taste experience and actually change how the brain responds to taste.

So to the OP, heck yeah lacing is a lot about aesthetics, and isn't that what beer drinking is all about!
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